18 posts categorized "Pride"

June 4, 2015

Heroes of Pride: Katherine Palmer

Every summer, LGBT people across the country step out during Pride season to honor who we are, celebrate the progress we’ve made, and re-energize ourselves for the battles ahead. Yet in the midst of all the revelry and marching, older people are often overlooked. This summer, SAGE is celebrating some lesser-known “Heroes of Pride” on our blog. 

The wide-open landscape of the southwest is home to today's hero, Katherine Palmer, a determined, energetic 73-year-old trans woman. As an LGBT activist for over 15 years, Katherine wastes no time. She's served as Board President of the Gender Identity Center of Colorado, Co-President of GenderPAC and Board President of PFLAG in her home town of Albuquerque, New Mexico--among many other roles. She has also lobbied for LGBT rights at both the national and state level. Perhaps most importantly for our purposes, Katherine is primarily responsible for bringing SAGE to Albuquerque, and currently serves as its Program Manager. 

KatherineThanks for talking with me, Katherine! Can you start us off with a bit of your personal story?

Well, I transitioned at age 58, in 1998.  I knew [I was trans] when I was young, hid it, and was later divorced because of it. When I retired from my career at IBM, I planned to work with Native Americans, but I decided to work with trans people instead.

Why did you decide to switch gears?

Well there was never really a term ‘transgender’ until about 1998, so I thought was only one in world. Then I went to the Gender Identity Center [GIC] and realized I wasn’t! So I got involved in that and jumped in full speed.

I wanted to reinforce that this wasn’t something to be ashamed of. I said "there’s nothing wrong with me, if you have a problem that’s your problem'. I got involved with the GIC and realized we were a minority that needed our voices heard. So I said ‘ok let’s go do it!’ I went to Washington DC and lobbied congress for ENDA.

You must’ve been so proud to do that!

Yes! I began to realize this was a national thing and I jumped in. I’m a strong believer in coalitions, I said, we can’t do this alone, we have to do this with others. I have also been very involved with PFLAG, which is wonderful because you have parents, family, friends and trans people, lesbians and gay men all in the same room!

What's so powerful about coalition building?

The thing that frustrates me within the LGBT community is that it's so localized.  I thought 'can’t we all work together?' and then I found SAGE and I said 'oooh! Here we go!'

Because everyone gets old! Aging is universal. 

Yes!

How did you start a SAGE chapter?

I contacted SAGE national and put together a committee. Our biggest problem is that we don’t have a physical space. So we went to Albuquerque Senior Services, and said ‘we’d like to have an LGBT presence here’ and they said ‘sure’. Albuquerque is unique. We passed a non-discrimination law in '03. We came within one vote of same sex marriage about 5 years before we got it nationally. 

So is your message or your goal primarily about tolerance, or something more?

No, it’s something more. My goal with PFLAG and SAGE is to get to a point where we don’t need it, because we’re treated like everyone else. I go to a statewide aging conference every year on behalf of SAGE, and I’m trans and I’m not "stealth”, but no one gives me any hassles, I’m just Katherine. 

It sounds your experience since coming out has been pretty positive.

Yes!

So you’re working on behalf of others who haven’t had it so easy is that right?

Yes, I see other people being abused or discriminated against and I just can't take that. I’m a firm believer that people are afraid of what they don’t understand. You teach, they learn, and the problem goes away. I'm not intimidated by them. My partner says, 'you go into the grocery store for a can of peas and these people are looking at you and you’re oblivious!' I have to remember sometimes that I’m trans.

What’s coming up for SAGE Albuquerque?

We have a golf tournament coming up in September. We’ve never done one out here, it’s a fundraiser for SAGE; we'll be offering prizes and awards. And then the aging conference is coming up this year, our topic will be LGBT older people and providers working together. We’re still growing and trying to find the LGBT seniors with strong support from the entire LGBTQ community.

So working with providers could really help you boost participation.

Yes! New Mexico is the 5th largest state in the country but we’re less than two million people in total, and half are in Albuquerque. Some people drive 30 miles to get to us. It’s not a very large group but it’s dedicated. Over the last 3 months, and our monthly meetings have all been new people—so something’s happening, the word’s getting out!

--Posted by Kira Garcia

October 24, 2013

LGBT History Month: Love in a Meat Truck

In honor of LGBT History Month, SAGE shares stories from our constituents. Watch them explain their experiences in the past and how it shaped their future.

This week, David Singh, shares his story about finding love in Chelsea—back when gay bars and Grindr were not de riguer.

October 18, 2013

LGBT History Month: Spotlight on Seniors

In honor of LGBT History Month, SAGE shares stories from our constituents. Watch them explain their experiences in the past and how it shaped their future.

This week, Jerry Hoose, shares his story about being a Stonewall Veteran and the first Pride March in New York City.

July 3, 2013

Chicago Pride Parade & SAGENet Pride

Today’s post is from Serena Worthington, Director of Community Advocacy and Capacity-Building. Follow her on Twitter.

Chicago PrideThis last Sunday, my partner, Terri Griffith, and I had the opportunity to ride on the AARP Illinois trolley in the Chicago Pride Parade with folks from SAGE Center on Halsted, Affinity Community Services, and AARP. Like many Pride celebrations, Chicago had a record breaking turnout—over a million!

Being in the parade, rather than viewing it from the sidelines, gave me a chance to see block after block after block of the massive crowds. Everyone had a huge smile on their face and tons of enthusiasm for everything. I was amazed by the sheer density.  At first, everyone was just a big blur of rainbow colors and lot of skin, but a few minutes into the parade, I found myself getting quiet and really just looking at them looking at us. There were so many people who got truly, genuinely excited when they realized our trolley was full of LGBT elders. People screamed, shouted encouraging things, blew kisses, and generally made a fuss. There is no experience like basking (albeit secondhand) in the approval that LGBT older adults get from a Pride Parade crowd. One of my favorite moments was passing Center on Halsted. The Center has an annual Senior Pride Viewing Party in the John Baran Senior Center—which overlooks the parade route. From our trolley, we could see all of the SAGE Center on Halsted constituents packed against the windows waving enthusiastically at us.

People loved that AARP was the sponsor. Our excellent host, AARP Associate State Director, Terri Worman, would periodically hold up her AARP card in one hand and give the crowd the thumbs up sign with the other. This never failed to generate smiles and laughs of recognition. More than once I saw someone turn to whoever was standing next to them and, from the looks of it say, “I’m in AARP!” I’m no lip reader but I’m pretty sure that’s what they were saying. Many thanks to Terri and her partner Paula Basta for making sure everyone was warmly welcomed, provided with AARP t-shirts and rainbow swag, and given lots water and snacks.

Watch us roll by in this video from Windy City Times


Check out a few Pride pics from our SAGENet affiliates around the country!

June 19, 2013

La Voz Latina de SAGE: PRIDE

¡Vea el nuevo episodio de "La Voz Latina de SAGE" y aprenda sobre Pride (orgullo LGBT)!

June 11, 2013

SAGE Pride Across the Country!

SAGE is celebrating Pride all month throughout New York City, but we can't forget our SAGENet affiliates all around the country! Here are some highlights from our affiliates' Pride events this month.

PortlandSAGE Metro Portland will be celebrating Pride this weekend! They will be featuring two members who are celebrating 60+ years together and who are instrumental in the community. In partnership with the Portland Primetimers and LOCA (Lesbians of a Certain Age), they will host the Senior Tent at Pride Festival. Stop by the tent to learn about resources for LGBT older adults and each of the partnering programs. They will also have a place for you to sit and take a rest from the festival. On Sunday June 16, SAGE Metro Portland will be marching in the parade and invite all LGBT older adults and allies to join us.

SAGE Philadelphia just celebrated their Pride this past weekend! SAGE Philadelphia provided a presentation on LGBT older adult housing for a local Black Pride organization and distributed brochures for the John C. Anderson Apartments during the Pride parade.

Sageutahzone
SAGE Utah Pride Zone

Out in Utah, Pride festivities happened a few weeks ago with a huge parade and SAGE Utah had a large presence. SAGE Utah also set up a SAGE Zone for folks to rest, relax and “embrace the SAGE within.”

SAGE Center on Halsted constituents and individuals with disabilities are invited to view Chicago's June 30 Pride parade at the John Baran Senior Center at the Center on Halsted. This annual event is extremely popular with SAGE folks who might not be able to enjoy the parade otherwise.

Tulsa
SAGE Tulsa's Toby Jenkins in front of new Pride Exhibit
SAGE Tulsa also celebrated Pride earlier in the month! The Oklahoma Equality Center hosted a SAGE Tulsa Zone during their Pride Festival. Spectators got prime seating with a view of the parade from the Oklahoma Equality Center.

 

Want to learn more about our SAGENet affiliates and what they're doing for Pride? Visit our SAGENet page.

May 29, 2013

Almost Here... Pride!

The end of May is especially busy for SAGE as we begin to prepare for June—Pride Month! This year, we are excited to be participating in a number of activities all over New York City and with our SAGENet affiliates throughout the country. We'll also be keeping a close watch on the Supreme Court decisions regarding DOMA and Prop 8 (likely to be announced in June), especially with plaintiff Edie Windsor serving as one of the grand marshals of this year's NYC Pride parade. Be sure to sign up for e-mail updates and be the first to find out more about SAGE Pride and any news from the court!

March 1, 2013

SAGE Proudly Supports Supreme Court DOMA Challenge

By Michael Adams, Executive Director of SAGE

 

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Me and Edie Windsor at New York City's 2012 Pride Parade.

Today, we move one step closer to what is sure to be a momentous event in American history: on March 27, the Supreme Court will hear the case of United States v. Windsor, a powerful legal challenge to the notorious Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). More specifically, the Windsor lawsuit challenges Section 3 of DOMA, which prohibits the federal government from recognizing the marriages of same-sex couples even though they  are already legally married under state law. SAGE is among more than 40 groups that today filed a friend-of-the-court brief in support of Edie Windsor’s case; we’re joined in our brief by the American Society on Aging, National Hispanic Council on Aging, National Organization of Social Security Claimants’ Representatives, National Senior Citizens Law Center, and Southeast Asia Resource Action Center.

SAGE has been proud to support Edie during every step of her challenge to DOMA. Some background: Edie and her spouse Thea Spyer were a committed couple who got engaged in 1967 and were finally able to legally marry 40 years later. (If you’re a Netflix member, you can watch a very moving documentary about their life together.) When Thea passed away after a long battle with multiple sclerosis, Edie was forced to pay a large estate tax that she would not have had to pay had she been married to a man. Not willing to remain silent about this gross injustice, Edie sued the federal government for failing to recognize her marriage. On October 18, 2012, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in Manhattan sided with Edie, ruling that DOMA unconstitutionally discriminates against married same-sex couples. Shortly thereafter, on December 7, the Supreme Court announced that it would take and decide Edie’s case.

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